Sure, we said we weren’t going to cover the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – but we never said we weren’t going to cover the coverage of the… well, you get the idea. Anyway, seems like the Herald Sun – official sponsors of MICF despite not giving a flying fuck about live comedy the rest of the year – have done it again. And by “done it again” we mean, as you have no doubt already figured out, given someone a horrendously crap review based on non-performance elements of their show. Also, astoundingly sexist, but you knew that.
Hilariously, this review was so kak-handed and offensive that even though the Herald-Sun has already removed it from its website, the very first line – which is all that we could find on google* – is bad enough in and of itself:
YOU wouldn’t look twice at Alice Fraser if she walked past you on Collins St in her black business dress that unfortunately only half covers a…
That’s a review of a comedy show? Slightly more details come from Fraser herself:
— Alice R Fraser (@aliterative) April 5, 2014
… and while no doubt if we had access to the original review we’d be able to quote even more rubbish (though we believe the overall review was positive), we think you get the picture.
So many questions, none of them new. Who are they getting to review comedy at the Herald-Sun? Where are the editors in all this? Why would anyone think that talking about a comic’s appearance was in any possible way relevant to a comedy show (unless they were wearing a wacky outfit that was part of the act, which, it’s amazingly safe to say, is not the case here)? Haven’t we been here before?
As we’ve said in the past, the Herald-Sun and live comedy are an odd fit. Worse, the Herald-Sun‘s general lack of live arts coverage means that when MICF rolls around, they don’t have the experienced reviewers to handle it. MICF is a very tough reviewing gig at the best of times – comedians are very touchy about reviews, and there’s not the history of consistent live reviews to give readers any of the context (is four stars a good review or just average? Does a certain reviewer consistently give out bad ratings to good shows?) that’s needed if reviews are really going to be of much use.
But having this happen yet again points to a systemic problem with the MICF / Herald Sun dynamic. As in, the Herald Sun doesn’t really give much of a shit about comedy and their promotion of the festival is basically about promoting themselves. So long as that’s the case they’re going to be handing out reviewing gigs to anyone they can find who’ll take them, and that includes people who don’t have a clue.
The MICF management seems fine with this: whether the comedians themselves get much of a say seems doubtful.
*edit: the full review can now be found here.